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A mountain peak in China's Hunan province, which inspired Golden Globes Best Director winner James Cameron for his latest blockbuster, Avatar, was renamed today, xinhuanet.com reported.

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Hallelujah Mountain
Hallelujah Mountain

The management committee of the Yuanjiajie part of Wulingyuan Scenic Area in Zhangjiajie changed the name of the "South Pillar of the Heaven" (also called the "Pillar between Heaven and Earth") to "Hallelujah Mountain", a namesake floating island in the movie that circulates in the magnetic currents of the make-believe planet of Pandora.

The "South Pillar of the Heaven", about 150 meters above the ground at the height of 1,074 meters above sea level, is a nationally renowned scenic attraction, among "three thousand mountain peaks" in the tourist city of Zhangjiajie in central China's Hunan province.

Hallelujah Mountain
Hallelujah Mountain

"We renamed the top not because we are blindly following foreign culture," said Song Zhiguang, director of the management committee of the Yuanjiajie scenic area. "We're only sending this message to the world: Zhangjiajie belongs to the world and is now known to global tourists."

According to the report, one of the "Hallelujah Mountains" in the movie is modeled after the South Pillar of the Heaven, on which a major cameraman for the movie spent four days shooting photos.

The movie's director said during a press conference last December that the "Hallelujah Mountains" were modeled after Huangshan Mountain in China's Anhui Province.

He said he sent his crew to the site during preparations for the movie's alien planet scenes, but later that month a Chinese Internet user reported the original model for the mountain was not Huangshan but the South Pillar of the Heaven in Zhangjiajie. He made the determination by comparing photos of the South Pillar of the Heaven and the movie's "Hallelujah Mountain".

"Avatar," directed by James Cameron, has so far sold $1.841 billion worth of tickets worldwide, making it the biggest international release of all time.

Chinese cinemas last week began taking the 2D version of "Avatar" off their screens to make way for domestic movies over the upcoming Chinese new year holiday, though the wildly popular 3D version is still available.

"Avatar" has so far made around $80 million in China, and has become the country's most popular film ever.

Hallelujah Mountain
Hallelujah Mountain

Zhangjiajie hopes to capitalize on that fame.

Tourists can now join a "Magical tour to Avatar-Pandora" or a "Miracle tour to Avatar's floating mountain," the Zhangjiajie branch of China International Travel Service Corp said on its website.

"Pandora is far but Zhangjiajie is near," the municipal government added on its website. "Welcome to Zhangjiajie to see 'Avatar's Hallelujah Mountains' and discover the real world of Pandora.

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